Distraint: Deluxe Edition has been sitting in my Steam pile for what feels like forever. I wanted a quick and concise experience, and this was delivered. Distraint was released on PC by developer Jesse Makkonen in 2015. Distraint is a 2D psychological horror adventure game.
The player is put into the shoes of an ambitious man named. Price wants to secure a partnership with a famous company. But to do this, he must seize property from late payers. The very first home he seizes is from an elderly woman called Mrs. Goodwin.
From there the game takes a dark turn. He soon realizes he has to trade the price of his humanity for his goal. These begin when it wakes up at home. It’s dark and grim. There are many weird events that take place.
The player meets many different characters. The three owners of the famous company, Price’s parents, and his victims. Price has a different view of each person. His parents had passed away, so they play the role of three ghosts from A Christmas Carol. Providing advice and pushing Price to forget his dream and focus on humanity.
The ending reflects the tone of the game perfectly. I won’t go into details but you won’t be disappointed in the developer’s choices. It ended at a perfect time and did not outstay its welcome.
Distraint The Game
Distraint is a simple game, gameplay-wise. The player takes control of Price in a 2D side-scrolling adventure. The player will need to solve puzzles to progress. The puzzles can be difficult but require the player to match items they collect with the environment. There were times where I would spend a lot of time not being able to progress because I hadn’t acquired the item, or not explored enough.
Only at one point does the gameplay change at all. On the third level, the player can switch between two worlds. There is a time limit on the second world, so the player has to rush to complete puzzles. It’s a welcome change of pace, but it can be annoying if you take the wrong turn and have to start again.
However, the gameplay takes a back seat compared to the atmosphere and story. It is kept to a minimum which works really well and I have no complaints regarding it. It may have been nice to have more input or make decisions on Price’s behalf. But then, the developer wouldn’t be able to tell the story so well.
The display has a minimalist interface so your focus never wavers from the experience. Which makes the experience even better than it could have been. The environment and character design are very eerie which match the tone perfectly. I easily found myself lost in the game late at night.
The atmospheric music and sound design take this one step further from the visuals. During quiet periods it plays in the background. But it ramps up once Price experiences one of his hallucinations. When you go to the second world, the tempo of the music changes to reflect the time limit of Price’s presence in that world.
I think if this title had been put into a 3D world it would have lost the suspense and horror elements. By limiting the plane of the player, it improves the scare factor.
Should You Play Again?
Once you’ve completed it, there is no reason to go back and play it again. Unless you want to relive the story. There are Steam achievements to get. But if that isn’t something you are interested in then there is no point.
It’s quite a short game as well which would have been ideal for them to add additional endings or tasks. There is now a Distraint 2 which I am eager to play and hopefully, they have ironed out these issues while keeping the story well written.
I enjoyed my time with Distraint. My only disappointment was that there was no reason to go back and play again. I completed the game in only a few hours and it could have easily gone on for longer or more content added. But the atmosphere and story were brilliantly woven together.
There were a few jump scare moments, but it was mostly psychological horrors and these worked effectively. I would recommend playing Distraint in the dark and towards Halloween.
|Distraint: Deluxe Edition|
|Amazing storytelling||No replayability value||8 / 10|
|Presentation matches tone|
|Doesn’t outstay its welcome|